I have spent my entire life documenting events, observations, experiments and knowledge in general. Written articles, videos, pictures, social media posts and collectibles, each piece of information is catalogued and stored in the vaults of my mind waiting for the day they are summoned. Each neuron takes its job very seriously preserving, as much of the moment as humanly possible, linking it to all the tangible proof in my keepsake boxes.
My mastery of keeping records was born from a need to treasure those items that would remind an older version of myself where I had been and where I was heading. Shy and not as photogenic with my unruly hair and Hermione-esque demeanor, I didn’t feel fully comfortable in front of the lens. Pictures may be worth a thousand words but a ticket stub or graduation program can hold dates, times and the names of those present when a shot couldn’t. The more inputs surrounding a milestone, the more reliable the memory of it. What would be the point of retaining all this data if it was incomplete? Half truths can be as worse as a full-fledged lie.
Armed with my camera, now smartphone, and an eye for catching people off guard (al naturel), I was invited to document most of my early years. Many kids have pictures from the parent’s point of view, except me. Most of the prints we have at home were taken through the lens of my equipment. All the smiles, giggles and hand gestures were directed at moi. That was the funniest and exhilarating part of my job as a historian. Getting the right reaction to match the importance of the light caught on film. Later in life I was summoned to unofficially capture weddings, showers, birthdays, get togethers, Halloween costumes, trips, Christmases and holidays. My data store of pictures runs into the hundreds of Gigabytes. (Which are back up in quadruplicate just in case.)
Because of this extensive library of recorded facts, opinions and data, my friends contact me when no one else can recall a particular moment or action. You’d be surprised as to how easily I have been able to track down a teacher, friend or witness to any of their past deeds. Pals joke I should work for the FBI, NSA or CIA. For the life of me I cannot remember a single occurrence of someone thinking I didn’t know, even when I was clueless, because somehow they thought I had all the answers. (Google helps locate what I may be missing, solidifying the myth that I do know everything.)
My new house is decorated with many of those wonderful stops along the way. This blog is also wrought with many of the knowledge, wisdom, sorrow and joy of the events that shaped who we are today. An entire generation grew up with me, savoring the same morsels of technological improvement, and we had the opportunity to set it all in modern tech stone. Although some memories can be painful to relive and access they are all valued as part of our journey together. My story doesn’t stand alone which is why it was important to preserve as much of it as I could. Growing up is never easy but having recollection of how we got to where we are can help us steer the ship in the right direction.
Please back up your data in any way, shape, form and method you can think of. It is the only evidence that we have lived; that we endured.